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Le film sans fin

The wonderful ‘Le film sans fin‘ or ‘The film without end‘ by Ollivier Moreels and Jean-Louis Vincendeau is build on the never-ending and always inspiring theme of the encounter, in the region of Saint-Nazaire. The project has now its own facebook page on which you can follow its development.

Film sans fin_Stanislas

In their statement on the film Moreels and Vincendeau explain:

The film without end plays with professional and amateur artists, actors and poets in our Loire territory, which offers us amazing filming locations and grounds for exploration. It is written in pairs or in groups, often improvised on location as we go on walks and scoutings. The theme of the encounter is for us central and germinal.

The result of these reveries is dreamlike pochades made up of slight discrepancies, slippery, sometimes surprising associations of ideas that discreetly fit together… to constitute in short the “lessons of things” of gatherers. These scenes, with their varied combinations, produce a work of variable geometry, whose actors are the welcomed authors of an infinite gallery.

Le film sans fin joue avec des artistes, des acteurs et poètes professionnels et amateurs, et cela en notre territoire ligérien qui nous offre des lieux de tournage et terrains d’explorations étonnants. Il est écrit à deux ou à plusieurs, souvent improvisé sur place au fur et à mesure des ballades, des repérages. Le thème de la rencontre est pour nous central et germinal.

Le résultat de ces rêveries à plusieurs se concrétise en des pochades oniriques faites de légers décalages, d’associations d’idées glissantes, parfois surprenantes et qui s’emboîtent discrètement…pour constituer en somme les « leçons de choses » de rassembleurs. Ces scènes aux combinaisons variées, produisent une œuvre à géométrie variable, dont les acteurs sont les auteurs accueillis d’une galerie infinie.

Archive – Jean De Groote in Parbleu

Uitnodiging_voorkant_webIn November 1990, almost at the beginning of his career, Jean De Groote exhibited at Parbleu his project “Chair in Time II – No Observer – No Object”. The first part had been shown in the Triennial for Contemporary Art ‘Van Stof tot Asse’, organised by Jan De Smedt. Just as in the first part a chair played a central part, but it could have been any other object. It was a way to explore spatiality and representation. As I wrote at the time:

Observation keeps fascinating De Groote. Observation is not only seeing, but at the same time trying to fathom underlying ideas and causes. The chair plays in this process an arbitrary role. Any other object in any other colour will suffice. It just happened to be this chair with which form, time and content are approached. Over time it is a bearer of memories.

This philosophical approach has always been important in De Groote’s work. The text is curiously topical when I regard the body of work that he has produced since then. Due to this archival work we got back in touch and I am happy to contribute to the publication dedicated to his work In de stilte van de dingen (In the Silence of Things) that will be published in November of this year, exactly thirty years later.

Find the dedicated page with more information to this exhibition here.

Please note: I am trying to find photos and other documentation made during this and other exhibitions I curated as most of my own material is lost – please contact me if you have anything that I could add to the archive. Thank you.

Archive – The first exhibition – Paul Bartels at Zebra

My adventure as a curator began when I decided in 1987 to move to Antwerp while finishing my studies in art history in Leiden. I found a fairly derelict downstairs 19th century apartment in the Het Zuid-area, then very much upcoming with the recent opening of the Muhka (Museum of Contemporary Arts). The best galleries like Micheline Szwajcer and Zeno X were around the corner. With my bursary and later part-time job in the pizzeria across the street I could make ends just about meet. Once a week I would go to Leiden to follow classes, but it was also agreed that my exhibition making could count as research while I was writing my master thesis on the Belgian Research Group.

I didn’t want to start a gallery but a non-commercial exhibition space where the artists and I count experiment and which I initially called Zebra. It made sense to start with Paul Bartels, an artist I had known for a long time as he was a family friend. Specifically for the exhibition he made the series Stiertjes of de zonen van St. Lukas (Young Bulls or the Sons of St. Luke) that were silkscreened by my father Kees Graaf in sometimes more than 30 print runs on handmade Japanese Unryu paper. By making 30 portraits of these young bulls Bartels treated them as important individuals and cultural assets.

There are unfortunately very little photos and other documentation left of this exhibition. The images here are from a visit of former colleagues from the Kooyker Bookshop in Leiden where I had worked as a student.

Find the dedicated page with more information to this exhibition here. The photo of the individual bull is by Lia Bolderman.

Please note: I am trying to find photos and other documentation made during this and other exhibitions I curated as most of my own material is lost – please contact me if you have anything that I could add to the archive. Thank you.


Archive – Kris Van Dessel at Parbleu

Early in 1992, Belgian artist Kris Van Dessel presented his so-called Isolation Project in Parbleu. 28 years later it resonates eerily with our current times. I asked how the project connects with his current work in which he amongst others curates sound works online in BO>><<. Van Dessel wrote a text which you can read on the dedicated page for his exhibition here.


Photos Stefan Dewickere

Archive – “Il faut cultiver notre jardin…”, Johan Rottiers and company at Parbleu


t01 uitnodiging

In autum 1992 we organised an in my view still very topical installation by the Belgian artist Johan Rottiers in collaboration with the garden architects Koen Janssens and Patrick ‘t Hooft as well as artist Georges Uittenhout. Together they considered the gallery space as a possible garden for the artist and a starting point to ask questions about the role of the artist and art in society, the role of artistic activity for the artist, the meaning of producing art, the meaning of exhibiting in a (non-commercial) space as Parbleu, the meaning of a collaborative project. Which they thus basically ‘answered’ open-endedly with Voltaire’s famous phrase “Il faut cultiver notre jardin…”.


Find the dedicated page to this exhibition here.

Please note: I am trying to find photos made during this and other exhibitions I curated as most of my own material is lost – please contact me if you have anything that I could add to the archive. Thank you.

Projet Malraux

The Project Malraux is an art initiative that resulted from the theory of art course dedicated to the Artist as Curator and Participative Art, taught by me at ESADHaR Rouen for the 4th year MA.

Inspired by various participative art projects by international artists such as those by Dora Garcia, Thomas Hirschhorn, Melanie Manchot, Ernesto Neto, Lucy + Jorge Orta, or Jeanne Van Heeswijk, the students developed several participative projects as a reflection on the course to be shown at the Centre André Malraux, Rouen. Faced by the Covid-19 virus in spring 2020 we however had to adapt the live project to an online version. The participants therefore rethought their initial proposals which can be visited on this site.

Initially developed for the neighbourhood of La Grand Mare in Rouen where both the Centre Malraux and ESADHaR are located, we decided to open up the project to a wider audience. You can respond to any of the projects and if appropriate your response will be added to the website.

The artists participating in this project are

Yu-Chung Ding
Emma Genty
Margot Leclerc
Raquel Mayorga Larin
Lauralie Naumann
Lucie Pamart
Gabriella Viana

Leonardo Reviews – Habiter en oiseau

Despret Oiseau

Wrote another review for Leonardo, this time on Vinciane Despret‘s Habiter en oiseau. In this weird time, listening to birds communicating with each other and the world around them is more important than ever. Read my review here.

Fevronia, return to the city of Kitezh


In the on-going series of images and texts by Jean-Louis Vincendeau he proposes the story of Fevronia, inspired by “The Legend of the Invisible City by Kitezh and the Lady Fevronia”, an opera by Rimsky-Korsakov, here in a version by the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra.

Fevronia lives in the forest. Prince Vsevolod met her while getting lost on a hunting trip. Very soon he falls in love with her. Later, during the wedding festivities, we learn that the Tatars are approaching and want to attack the city of Kitezh. Thus, to salvage this beautiful story, for the accomplishment of this enigma, a miracle occurred and the city became invisible.

Here our Fevronia is renewed, she finds herself as an African statue and is surrounded by rustic wood and patinated palisades, which are themselves greyed by the sun and the sea air.

Undoubtedly, but not very often, other ladies, just like Fevronia, meet a prince in the forest and make the city of their wedding disappear?


Last red house / Dernière maison rouge

Fevronia, retour à la ville de Kitège

« La Légende de la ville invisible de Kitège et de la demoiselle Fevronia » est un opéra de Rimski-Korsakov.

Fevronia vit dans la forêt. Le prince Vsevolod la rencontre en se perdant à l’occasion d’une partie de chasse. Très vite il en tombe amoureux. Plus tard, au cours des festivités du mariage, on apprend que les Tatars s’approchent et veulent attaquer la ville de Kitège. Ainsi, pour sauver cette belle histoire, pour l’accomplissement de cette énigme, un miracle se produisit et la ville devint invisible.

Ici notre Fevronia est renouvelée, elle se retrouve en statue africaine et est entourée du bois rustique et patiné de palissades, elles mêmes grisées par le soleil et l’air marin.

Sans doute, mais peu souvent, d’autres demoiselles, tout comme Fevronia, rencontrent un prince dans la forêt et font disparaître la ville de leur mariage ?

Archive – Cor Knops at Parbleu


The Dutch painter Cor Knops exhibited in Parbleu from 13 February to 7 March 1992. Large scale geometrically abstract paintings were combined with smaller studies.

You can find the dedicated page to his exhibition here

Please note: I am trying to find photos made during this and other exhibitions I curated as most of my own material is lost – please contact me if you have anything that I could add to the archive. Thank you.

Hantu – Masques en rade

Following the interview that took place last Saturday please find the 5 performances that Hantu reconstructed in a separate video here.

The title Masques en rade or Masks in the harbour alludes to the triple wordplay of the performances taken place on their boat in the harbour of Paris, of being stranded, but obviolously also of masquerade.

Should you be interested in the interview, please contact me via the contact form to ask for the link.

Mask lavandin

Hantu – Performance n°2 : Mask Lavandin “in the pocket”, avril 2020